Have you heard about the film Hidden Figures? It’s a film about three African American women who worked as scientists for NASA on Project Mercury and Apollo 11, and it’s creating quite the buzz both in #histsci #histSTM circles and beyond. In short, this isn’t the average History of Science film. Based on the true story detailed in the book by Margot Lee Shetterley, the film is stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson , three women who were integral to sending John Glenn on his 1962 orbit around the earth. It has been nominated for 3 Oscars.

It was released in North America at Christmas and groups set up viewing parties at local cinemas to support and celebrate the film, the African American female scientists it portrays, and diversity in Hollywood more generally.

The film comes out in the UK on 17 February, and we are hosting BSHS viewing parties across the country with a #histSTM slant, and are looking for volunteers to help organise them! We will be bringing groups of interested people together (historians and non-historians alike) to view the film, then move to a coffee shop, pub, or other social space for a discussion of how the History of Science, race, and gender have been portrayed in the film. We know that history on film can be problematic, so let’s engage with it to see how Hidden Figures stacks up!

If you’re interested in getting involved and helping to organise a #histSTM #HiddenFiguresParty in your community, please get in touch with Jessica van Horssen, BSHS Communications Officer by Monday, 6 February to find out more.

If you’d like to read some reviews of the film, check out this one from The Atlantic and this one from Rolling Stone to get started.